Apalachee Water Management Area
Set within a picturesque landscape of rolling upland forests, farms, rivers and lakes in northwest Florida along Florida’s largest river system, the Apalachee Wildlife Management Area (AWMA) conserves important benchmark upland pine forests, floodplain forests, marshes, and swamps within the Chattahoochee and Flint River systems that form the headwaters of the Apalachicola River. Located along the western shoreline of the Chattahoochee River and Lake Seminole in Jackson County, AWMA comprises approximately 7,952 acres. Chief among its many attributes, AWMA provides essential water quality protection, as well as wildlife habitat for an array of imperiled, and other native wildlife including the Gopher Tortoise, Fox Squirrel, and Little Blue Heron among others, as well exceptional recreational opportunities. Scenic River Road (CR 271) bisects much of the AWMA and provides easy public access to enjoy wildlife viewing year-round on the area’s verdant forests, Lake Seminole, and the Chattahoochee River. Additional recreational opportunities offered on the Area include fishing, horseback-riding, boating, and hiking.
Apalachicola River WEA, Sand Beach Recreation Area
This land is part of a vast ecosystem that begins hundreds of miles away in the Chattahoochee National Forest in Georgia. The 82,554-acre Apalachicola River WEA, which is administered by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, contains the largest expanse of floodplain forest in Florida. The floodplain forest of the lower Apalachicola River protects, feeds, and nurtures Apalachicola Bay, the site of Florida’s most productive oyster harvesting. This region is also considered one of the most important bird habitats in the southeastern United States: more than 280 species have been identified in the Apalachicola River WEA. The area lies on the eastern fringe of the Mississippi Flyway and hosts large numbers of birds from both the Midwest and the Atlantic seaboard during migratory periods. Visit the Sand Beach Recreation Area, a beautiful Cabbage Palm hammock with outstanding view of the Apalachicola River and floodplain forest. Sand Beach also features a boardwalk, kayak launch, picnic tables, interpretive signage, and trail.
The Northwest Florida Water Management District owns 43,770 acres along Econfina Creek, including 2,155 acres along the Sand Hill Lakes. A portion of the Florida National Scenic Trail crosses the property and can be accessed off Strickland Road. The District developed the Pine Ridge Equestrian Campground and saddle clubs developed equestrian trails (yellow or blue blazes) to help riders stay on designated trails. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) manages the area as the Econfina Creek Wildlife Management Area. Motorized vehicles and bikes are allowed on designated roads, which are dirt/graded, but ATV’s are prohibited.
Activities include hiking, biking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, camping, picnicking, restrooms, boating, fishing, canoe launch, canoeing, and seasonal hunting.
Located just east of Carrabelle on SE Avenue F, this is a great birdwatching spot for waterbirds.
Harry A. Laird City Park
This small roadside park is nestled alongside Four Mile Creek. A popular birding and wildlife viewing spot, it features a raised boardwalk that follows the course of the winding creek for a short distance, with built-in seated overlook areas where visitors can watch the creek and wildlife. Easy to miss for the way they blend into the scenery are small picnic tables and grills, as well as a couple of small pavilions, perfect for an afternoon lunch. The entire park is shaded and quiet despite its proximity to the roadway. This park is a nice destination for a moment in nature.
Seven Runs Recreation Area
Seven Runs Creek can be enjoyed at the facility or on a scenic paddle through hardwood wetlands and cypress swamps. A short, 2.3 mile paddle, this creek provides many twists and turns before it opens into the swampy cypress-filled forest before emptying into the Choctawhatchee River. The facility has bathrooms, picnic pavilion, benches, and grills. Seven Runs Creek is part of the Choctawhatchee River Wildlife Management Area and was recently included in the Florida Forever Conservation program.
Womack Creek Recreation Area
Womack Creek Unit consists of nearly 14,000 acres in Franklin and Liberty Counties just north of Carrabelle and is bordered by the Ochlockonee River, the Crooked River, and Highway 67. Wildlife that may be seen on the area include Turkey, Feral Hogs, White-Tailed Deer, Wood Ducks, Black Bear, Box Turtles, Swallow-Tailed Kites, Gopher Tortoise, and Ground Doves. Tent camping is permitted at designated campsites. The Womack Creek Recreation Area offers a picnic pavilion, bathhouse, and boat ramp with access to Ochlockonee River.